Inspectors’ queries on welfare enforcement addressed during first EURCAW-pigs Regional meeting

Published on
June 13, 2019

At the end of April, EURCAW-Pigs organized the first regional meeting in Wageningen, The Netherlands. It is the first meeting in a series of four in 2019 and 2020, aiming to meet with the primary target groups of the reference centre: inspectors of Competent Authorities and pig welfare policy workers.

The purpose of the EURCAW-Pigs regional meetings is to optimize its services by staying well aware of, and updated on the main concerns and queries of its primary target groups. It also addresses the status of EU law enforcement in each Member State, focussing on technical problems and issues. In this regional meeting West, a total of 9 delegates from the member states Luxembourg, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and The Netherlands, and 1 delegate from DG SANTE, attended. They were invited to bring topics to the table which they wanted to discuss to support their work on enforcing EU pig welfare legislation.

Discussion topics

The delegates to this meeting brought in several topics, and after comparing it with EURCAW’s work programme 2019-2020, three topics were chosen by the EURCAW team: enrichment materials, climate in pig houses, and action plans. The proposers were asked to introduce their topic in a short presentation at the beginning of the meeting. These presentations were followed by 3 ‘coffee table’ discussions, one for each topic. On day 2, for each topic an invited expert wrapped-up the discussion and presented scientific knowledge, practical examples and their own thoughts on the topics:

  • For ‘Enrichment materials’: Lene Juul Pedersen, Professor in Animal Welfare and precision livestock farming, Aarhus University, Denmark;
  • For ‘Air quality in pig buildings’: Herman Vermeer, pig welfare scientist, Wageningen Livestock Research, The Netherlands;
  • For ‘Action plans': Hans Spoolder, senior scientist in applied ethology, Wageningen Livestock Research, The Netherlands.

Specific outcomes of these discussions and actions for the reference centre are described and summarized in the minutes.

How to support change?

Enforcement of (new) rules often requires a change of thinking, and perhaps a change of attitude for inspectors as well as those who are inspected. A change from viewing the requirements in the legislation as a burden, towards an opportunity to improve the pig farming business. Following the discussions on day 1, Inger Anneberg (senior advisor and anthropologist at Aarhus University, Denmark) and Anita Hoofs (pig welfare scientist at Wageningen Livestock Research, The Netherlands) shared their experiences and ideas on this topic from a scientific and practical point of view.

Next regional meeting(s)

During the first two years of EURCAW-Pigs (2019-2020), the reference centre will organise four regional meetings. The next meeting is the Southern European regional meeting, planned for the second half of October 2019. The other two meetings are planned for 2020: in the spring in Denmark for the Nordic region, and in the autumn in Slovakia for the Eastern region.

(Source photo: EURCAW-Pigs)